A good landscape design includes plantings, trees, turf and hard surfaces that take advantage of the existing grading to create a comfortable, attractive space for outdoor living. But good landscape designs also need to incorporate structures for visual interest, scale and practicality. Fences and arbors are affordable and adaptable to any landscape plan, making them the perfect addition to your yard.
Practical Reasons to Build a Fence
Let's look at the practical side of this equation. Fencing provides security, keeping unwanted visitors out and creating a safe area for your children and pets to play. Wood fencing also provides privacy, a valuable commodity in suburban neighborhoods.
Fences are often required by the local building code in yards that contain a pool or large water feature. Fencing also acts as a barrier to traffic, especially on corner lots and along public pathways.
Always find out the local bylaws before installing your fence posts. Most municipalities have limitations on fence heights and location, especially on corner lots and when the fence encroaches on sidewalks and other public spaces. Some suburb or condo groups also dictate the style or materials that can be used to build a fence, further limiting your choices. Find this information out beforehand and save yourself hassle and expense.
You have plenty of logical reasons to include fences in your landscape design. But have you ever thought about the visual and design opportunities offered by a well-made, attractive fence? Think outside of the box and let your fence enhance the landscaping, as well as playing a practical role in your yard.
Aesthetic Reasons to Build a Fence
Some homeowners build a fence purely to improve the landscape, or create a backdrop for perennials, shrubs and flowering trees. Decorative fencing can define garden borders and provide support for taller plants like peonies and delphiniums. Think of decorative fencing as a stand-alone trellis, and use that structure to beautify and support all sorts of climbing vines, vegetables and trailing plants.
Wood fences also provide an excellent backdrop for outdoor art. Hang your favorite metal wall art or flat garden sculpture from a sturdy wood fence to create the look of a backyard room. Use fencing to create a secret garden or as support for wall-mounted planters and baskets.
Fences present the perfect spot for seasonal decorating as well, from Christmas wreaths and sparkling lights to spooky Halloween set ups, Easter-themed décor and birthday party banners. Other styles of fencing do not provide the same strength and flat surface as wood fencing does, so take advantage of the aesthetics wood provides and decorate.
Design With Purpose In Mind
Fencing can be custom designed for your yard. Wood fences are adaptable and range in style from short picket fences to tall sound walls. Toppers, such as lattice and scalloped wood caps, change the look of standard wood fencing and can be used to set your yard apart. Post caps provide another place to spruce up everyday wood fence styles.
Iron fences come in a wide selection of styles with unique details like finial toppers, ball caps and double rails. Mix and match wood fencing with fancy iron gates for an attractive look or put in stone pillars and enclose with wood fence or iron fence sections.
Chain link fences come in the standard design only, and cannot be easily adapted to suit your tastes. Look for a selection of color, with black, green and brown remaining the most popular. Chain link does combine well with iron sections and gates and can be used to enclose areas of your yard where decorative styling is not required. The two main advantages of chain link are an affordable price and a design that helps you to maintain your view.
Vinyl fencing often comes premade, but is available in a decent selection of styles. Choose from white or tan color and opt for a tongue and groove privacy panel style or more traditional picket fence styles. Vinyl lasts for generations with zero maintenance, but costs more than other materials and must be installed properly by a trained professional.
Use Arbors as Attractive Focal Points
Arbors can be incorporated into fencing of any style. You'll find metal or iron arbors at the local building materials store, as well as a selection of beautiful low care vinyl arbors. Wooden arbors can be custom-made to suit your yard, fence and location.
The main purpose of an arbor is to dress up an entrance. Installed at the head or foot of a pathway, arbors invite visitors and provide a stunning welcome. Use the sides and tops of arbors to grow your favorite vines, roses, grapes or other trailing flowers to create beautiful, natural appeal in your yard.
Larger arbors can also be used for dappled shade and as a convenient resting spot. Place a bench under a wide arbor, or hang your porch swing from the framing for the ideal nook in your backyard.
Ideal Arbor Locations
Arbors should flow with your fence, echoing the shape and design for a smooth transition. Plant your gardens around the arbor, although tradition dictates that the pathway through be covered in stone, mulch or turf.
Arbors work in the front yard, as well as the back, creating a beautiful entrance or beckoning you into a large garden for a rest. Pair up two arbors to flank an impressive island bed, or to dress up your vegetable plot. Match them in style, size and material, perhaps laying a meandering path between them. Play with arbors to create various focal points in your landscape design.
Fences and arbors can add a new dimension to your landscape design, creating depth and height in the yard. Appreciate the practical benefits of fencing, such as added security, privacy and safety, as well as the aesthetics of quality fences that provide a backdrop for flower gardens and outdoor art pieces. Arbors help to create a grand entrance, and can be placed around your landscape for dramatic appeal and multiple focal points. Every well-rounded landscape design, whether urban, suburban or rural, should include both fencing and arbors for a complete look.